Unc Mba Essay Questions


UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is a flexible program that offers a full-time MBA in Chapel Hill, Executive programs outside of D.C., and even an online program.

With a world-class university offering resources beyond the MBA program, UNC is an excellent option. Kenan-Flagler touts a strong career focus and that students receive career advancement from each MBA option. There is a global focus and several global immersion opportunities with each program at Kenan-Flagler. This essay set has only one required question, and it is entirely career focused. Kenan-Flagler is focused on your career and attracting recruiters to the program, so this is a logical area of focus.

Essay One (Required)
Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how your professional experience has shaped these goals, why this career option appeals to you, and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. Additionally, please briefly address a backup plan should your short-term goal not come to fruition for any reason. (500 words maximum)

This is primarily a standard career goals essay. The question asks about your background, what your short- and long-term career goals are, and why now is the right time for you to pursue an MBA. The other part to this question is to describe your backup plan if you do not achieve your original career goals.

The first part of the question focuses on the short term, asking for a very clear link between your short-term career path and your MBA. Due to Kenan-Flagler’s focus on the perspective of recruiters and your career advancement, this focus on the short term will show that you have realistic ideas about your career trajectory. The long-term goals should flow naturally from your short-term goals and demonstrate that you can plan for your career.

Because everyone’s life takes twists and turns that may not have been planned, Kenan-Flagler wants to know if you have a Plan B that is as well thought out as your Plan A. If you want to work in consulting, but you aren’t able to land a job at the firm you prefer, perhaps you will pursue a role as in-house strategy in your target long-term industry. Finally, make sure that you have career goals that require an MBA and that you can cite specific classes, professors and programs at UNC that will help you achieve your goals.

Essay Two (Optional)
What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum)

This question is a gift to any applicant who needs to differentiate his or her story. Think about what is unique about your background or perspective. If you have an interesting and diverse background you will certainly have enough material and the task will be to link your background clearly to a contribution you will make to the Kenan-Flagler community. Think about clubs or activities you will join and what you will bring that is unique.

If you are someone without a particularly unique background you will want to focus on personal qualities. What personality trait helps you stand out in a group? What do people often tell you about yourself? And how will this trait contribute to the community at Kenan-Flagler?

Essay Three (Optional)
If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)

This optional essay is straightforward and simply requires you to outline your preparation for the program. If you do not have the requisite coursework you may have gained training through work that will result in the same preparation. If you do not have the preparation through work or courses, it may be worth registering for continuing education classes and informing the admissions committee in this essay.

Essay Four (Optional)
Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)

This optional essay can be used to explain anything unusual or problematic about your application, from poor undergraduate GPA to choice of recommenders. In addition, because it is so open-ended, you may use it to communicate any additional information that may be beneficial to your candidacy. If you did not have the opportunity to communicate one of the areas of your application strategy, this may provide the space to do so.

This entry was posted in Application Tips, General, UNC Kenan-Flagler Advice and tagged Essay Tips, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, Kenan Flagler essays, Kenan-Flagler, Kenan-Flagler Business School, Kenan-Flagler essay tips, Kenan-Flagler MBA, UNC, UNC Kenan Flagler, UNC Kenan Flagler Business School.
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UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Following up on the release of the Kenan-Flagler MBA essay topics for 2017-2018, we wanted to offer a few pointers to applicants targeting the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for their business school studies next fall.

The UNC MBA essay set is mostly unchanged from last admissions season. The school poses just one required question to applicants, along with three optional 300-word essays of varying open-endedness. Taken together, the content of these prompts reflects a focus on applicant’s career plans and the reasoning behind them, as well as ways that candidates would contribute to the community and preparation to succeed in the classroom.

The retention of last year’s essay prompts and overall format suggests that the adcom was pleased with the information that candidates’ essays yielded last admissions season. Indeed, it seems that candidates’ choices around the three optional responses in particular present an opportunity to evaluate the applicants’ willingness to put “extra” work into their application, as well as their judgment in determining how many of these prompts to respond to and what to share in each. The only minor change this year is in the required essay—the adcom has added a request for a short-term back up plan.

UNC / Kenan-Flagler Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Let’s take a closer look at each of this year’s UNC MBA essays:

Essay 1 (Required)

Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how your professional experience has shaped these goals, why this career option appeals to you, and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. Additionally, please briefly address a backup plan should your short-term goal not come to fruition for any reason. (500 words maximum)
Kenan-Flagler’s lone required prompt is a fairly standard career goals essay. Structurally, we recommend that applicants address each element of the essay in the order in which it is presented. Applicants will want to begin by describing their professional aspirations, including both the position they hope to obtain immediately following an MBA, as well as their long-term objective. Candidates will then need to touch on the ways their work experiences to date have informed these goals, as well as the reasons that this career option is appealing. In addition to a match with their existing skills and interests, we suggest that applicants also address the impact their long-term position would enable them to have on an organization, industry, sector, or region. Effective essays will clearly address each of these four points (i.e. short-term goal, long-term goal, how past experience has shaped these, and why this path is appealing) in just 200-250 words in order to leave ample room for a robust why MBA discussion.

On that topic, applicants will then want to explain why they have chosen to pursue graduate business education at this point in their careers, and the ways that an MBA will prepare them for their stated goals. Naturally, in the course of the “why MBA” portion of this response, it would behoove candidates to comment on how exactly the Kenan-Flagler MBA would position them to achieve their career goals (rather than writing generically about the benefits of this credential). Candidates should aim to devote at least 200 words to a discussion of how specific courses and student clubs at UNC would impart the skills and knowledge they need to bridge the gap between their current abilities and what they’ll need to be effective in their chosen career paths. Learning about the details of Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program will therefore be essential in answering this last part of the prompt. Taking the time to learn about the school’s curriculum, special programs, and extracurricular activities — whether through a visit to campus, conversations with students and alumni, or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC — will pay dividends here.

Finally, wrap up the essay with a brief statement about another path that could lead to your aforementioned long-term plan. Ideally, with space permitting, conclude with a statement about understanding that one sometimes needs to be flexible in pursuit of a long-term goal.

Essay 2 (Optional)

What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum)
This question gives applicants the opportunity to share some information about their interests and experiences that set them apart from other candidates, while simultaneously showcasing their knowledge of and fit with Kenan-Flagler. While this essay is technically optional, we strongly recommend that all UNC MBA applicants provide a response to this question. Indeed, applicants would be remiss not to take this opportunity to help the adcom get to know them better — and to continue to demonstrate their interest in attending their MBA program.

Specifically calling for “personal qualities and life experiences,” this essay invites applicants to provide more intimate insight into who they are and what they care about outside of the office. Details matter here, so think about how you can translate your passions and past experiences into involvement on the UNC campus, and indicate specific contributions that you would like to make. Creating a link between your past and your potential future at the program will enable you to present a consistent and clear picture of your candidacy, as well as your professional and personal interests. The more information you can provide about how exactly you would contribute (playing a certain role in organizing a particular annual event, for example), the more reason you’ll give the adcom to admit you.

Essay 3 (Optional)

If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)
This response is directed toward applicants with quantitative liabilities in their applications. Applicants should therefore first consider whether either of the conditions of this question applies to them; if your GMAT score falls below the average of enrolled students in the MBA program or if your academic transcripts don’t demonstrate a track record of success in quantitative work in classroom settings, then you should consider addressing this question. As for the response itself, applicants should focus on ways they’ll prepare before they arrive on campus, whether through additional coursework, group or self-study, or through seeking out more quantitatively-oriented responsibilities at work.

Essay 4 (Optional)

Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)
This response will be an appropriate place to address any elements of one’s application that need further explanation (e.g. recommender choice, expected promotions, etc.). The wording of this essay is fairly open and inviting, and so it may be an appropriate place to share an additional anecdote or highlight an impressive accomplishment. Applicants should aim to demonstrate good judgment in deciding whether to respond to this prompt, and should take care not to introduce information that appears elsewhere in their materials or that could have been covered in response to one of the above essays.

Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s UNC MBA essay topics! As you work on your Kenan-Flagler MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s UNC / Kenan-Flagler offerings:

Posted in: Application Tips, Essay Tips & Advice, Essay Topic Analysis

Schools: UNC Kenan-Flagler

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